The Instigator
STALIN
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points
The Contender
ironmaiden
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Best general of WWII.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
STALIN
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/27/2013 Category: People
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 932 times Debate No: 41310
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)

 

STALIN

Pro

I challenge ironmaiden to this debate. I will argue that Heinz Guderian was the best general of WWII.

First round is for acceptance and stating which general you believe was better than Guderian.
ironmaiden

Con

Challenge accepted. I will go ahead with George S. Patton.

May the best man win:)
Debate Round No. 1
STALIN

Pro

There were multiple generals that were just as skilled, if not more skilled, than Patton including Rommel, Manstein, and Zhukov.

In his book, Panzer Leader, Guderian wrote:

"In this year (1929) I became convinced that tanks working on their own or in conjunction with infantry could never achieve decisive importance. My historical studies; the exercises carried out in England and our own experience with mock-ups had persuaded me that the tanks would never be able to produce their full effect until weapons on whose support they must inevitably rely were brought up to their standard of speed and of cross-country performance. In such formation of all arms, the tanks must play the primary role, the other weapons being subordinated to the requirements of the armour. It would be wrong to include tanks in infantry divisions: what were needed were armoured divisions which would include all the supporting arms needed to fight with full effect." [1]

Guderian was one of the major generals who developed the Blitzkrieg strategy which became so useful while fighting in Poland, France, and the Soviet Union. Heinz Guderian realized the potential that a combination of tanks and infantry could be deadly.

Hermann Balck said: "The decisive breakthrough into modern military thinking came with Guderian, and it came not only in armour, but in communication." [1]

The German victories from 1939 through 1941 were not due to superior equipment, but to superior tactics in the use of that equipment, and superior command and control which allowed the German panzer forces to operate at a much higher pace. Guderian developed the strategy which helped Germany conquer Europe.

Now onto the Second World War:

Invasion of Poland

Guderian led the XIX Corps during the invasion of Poland. This corps comprised a panzer division and two motorized infantry divisions. Guderian led his corps in the Battle of Wizna and the Battle of Kobryn and defeated Polish forces. In each of these battles his theories of rapid maneuver in combat proved highly successful. Following the defeat of Poland, Guderian continued to improve the Panzers in armor and firepower.

Invasion of France

Guderian helped to develop the Manstein Plan for the invasion of France. His force spearheaded the invasion of France which proved successful. He led the attack that broke the French lines at Sedan which proved successful. Guderian's panzer group led the "race to the sea" that split the Allied armies in two, depriving the French armies and the BEF in Northern France and Belgium of their fuel, food, spare parts and ammunition. Faced with orders from his superiors to halt, he managed to continue his advance by stating he was performing a 'reconnaissance in force'. Guderian's column was famously denied the chance to destroy the Allied forces trapped in the pocket at Dunkirk by an order coming from the high command.

Invasion of Russia

In 1941 he commanded the Panzergruppe 2 in Operation Barbarossa. His armoured spearhead captured Smolensk in a remarkably short time and was poised to launch the final assault on Moscow when he was ordered to turn his army south to encircle the Soviet forces to his south in the Battle of Kiev. He protested this decision.

Guderian then spearheaded the drive on Moscow. With winter fast approaching the offensive seemed to be doomed. He was ordered to continue the advance anyway. Several units under Guderian's command made it to the outskirts of Moscow. The Soviets then launched a counterattack that sent the German forces reeling and threatened a general collapse. Guderian was not allowed to pull his forces back, but instead was ordered to "stand fast" in his current position. He disobeyed the order, going personally to Adolph Hitler's headquarters. The order was not changed. After returning to his command, he carried out a series of withdrawals anyway in direct contradiction of his orders. After a final clash with von Kluge, Guderian asked to be relieved of his command. On December 26, 1941 Guderian was relieved, along with 40 other generals. He was transferred to the reserve pool.

In September 1942, when Erwin Rommel was recuperating in Germany from health problems, he suggested Guderian as the only man suitable to replace him in Africa. The response from the Oberkommando came as: "Guderian is not accepted."

More info on Guderian in the next round. I will now talk about Patton.

Patton was definitely a skilled commander and leader. He played important roles in:

North African Campaign
Sicily Campaign
Normandy breakout offensive
Lorraine Campaign
Battle of the Bulge
Advance into Germany

[2]

However I would like to point out that Patton only came into the war in 1942. In addition to this, I would like to point ot that while Guderian almost always was outnumbered, Patton almost always had the numerical advantage.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...
ironmaiden

Con

While their were plenty of skilled generals involved with World War 2, Patton was among the best of the best.

You stated he only came into play in 1942. America came into play in 1942, so that's the same year that any American general came into play. However, just because a general has three less years of experience than another doesn't mean anything about skill. In the course of three years (two and a half if you really think about it), Patton was involved in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, the Lorraine Campaign, the Battle of the Bulge, and Germany. That's a lot of fighting in that much time.

However, Patton was involved with the war before then. After the invasion of Poland, America began mobilizing for war (despite its neutrality). Patton was, along with Adna R. Chaffee, Jr., responsible for the development of the US's armored forces, which would have a huge impact on the outcome of the war. [2]

"May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't."-Patton

Patton was the most driven general. He showed this through his relentless push through France. He also showed this in Germany when he and the 3rd Army captured 10,000 miles in the matter of 10 days. [1]

Patton begged to be a part of the Pacific Theater after the conclusion of the War in Europe. However, he would have only been a part of it if an entry point was secured for him by the Chinese, which didn't end up happening.

More information on Patton and his campaigns in the next round.

Concerning Guderian, I will also discuss him in later rounds.

http://www.biography.com...

http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
STALIN

Pro

Inspector General of Armored Troops:

After the German defeat at Stalingrad Hitler realized he was in need of Guderian's expertise. He asked Guderian to take a new position as "Inspector General of Armored Troops". On 1 March 1943 Guderian was appointed to the newly created position. His responsibilities were to oversee the rebuilding of the greatly weakened panzer arm, to oversee tank design and production, and the training of Germany's panzer forces, and he was to advise Hitler on their use.

The Battle of Kursk completely destroyed the tanks that Guderian was trying to rebuild. In a conversation with Hitler Guderian pointed out the failure of the operation: "My Fuhrer, why do you want to attack in the East at all this year?" To this Hitler responded: "You are quite right. Whenever I think of this attack my stomach turns over." Guderian concluded, "In that case your reaction to the problem is the correct one. Leave it alone." [1]

When the head of the OKW General Wilhelm Keitel explained the political importance of the offensive, Guderian said: "How many people do you think even know where Kursk is? It's a matter of profound indifference to the world whether we hold Kursk or not..."

"In his role as Inspector General of Armored Troops, Guderian observed that Hitler was prone to experiment with too many designs, rather than finding an effective design and produce it in large numbers. He believed this resulted in supply-, logistical-, and repair problems for German forces in Russia. Guderian would have preferred the production of larger numbers of Panzer IVs and Panthers, and less energy and engineering effort spent on such projects as the Jagdtiger, the super tank Panzer VIII Maus, and the 800 mm railway gun the Schwerer Gustav.
Chief of Staff of the Army" [1]

On 21 July 1944 Guderian was appointed Chief of Staff of the Army succeeding Kurt Zeitzler who had departed on 1 July after multiple conflicts with Adolf Hitler.

Comparisons:

Like Patton, Guderian never really suffered a defeat. Guderian lost at Moscow, however that was not really a defeat for him. It was a defeat for Hitler.

While Patton almost always had a numerical advantage, Rommel was almost always outnumbered.

Guderian developed the Blitzkrieg tactics, many of which were used not only by the Germans, but by the Soviets, British, and Americans.

Guderian had much more combat experience than Patton did. Guderian fought in WWI. He helped protect the German borders from the Bolshevik threat. Guderian fought throughout WWII while America only entered WWII in 1941 and began combate in 1942.

Guderian's victories had more worth since he was constantly outnumbered and was almost always at a disadvantage.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org...
ironmaiden

Con

I'll start off by responding to your comparisons.

Guderian's defeat at Moscow was a loss for Hitler as any defeat would be a loss to anyone with that high of a political position. However, Hitler was not directly responsible for the defeat, therefore I believe it falls on Guderian's shoulders.

Numerical advantage doesn't determine how good of a leader someone is. It may determine who wins the battle, but the best general could have very few numbers and still win a battle, or vice versa. Besides, when it came to tank warfare, it would have been in even fight between the two. Germany had Panzers and Tigers, which were superior to the US's Shermans. However, the US produced more Shermans than Germany did Panzers and Tigers.

"Patton was assigned to help plan the invasion of French North Africa as part of Operation Torch in the summer of 1942." [1] Although Guderian was a mastermind with tactics, and the invasion of North Africa didn't have that much of an impact on war tactics, we can at least agree Patton was a tactician as well.

As far as combat experience, I'd actually say Patton had more experience. He was a cavalry soldier on border patrol in 1915 (this is where he began carrying a Colt on his hip). Later, he was part of an expedition led against Pancho Villa, during which time he began commanding troops. In WW1, he was assigned command of the U.S. 1st Provisional Tank Brigade and fought in the front lines of multiple battles. He was even wounded in one attack. I would go into further detail about these events, but the topic at hand is more focused on WW2 generals.

Patton may have had many victories due to numbers, but that doesn't mean they're worth any less. After all, his victories did help a great deal to win the war.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"The German High Command still had more respect for Patton than for any other Allied commander and considered him central to any plan to invade Europe from the United Kingdom. Because of this, Patton was made a prominent figure in the deception operation, Fortitude, in early 1944. The Allies fed German spies a steady stream of false intelligence that Patton had been named commander of the First United States Army Group (FUSAG) and was preparing this command for an invasion of Pas de Calais. As a result of Operation Fortitude, the German 15th Army remained at Pas de Calais to defend against Patton's supposed attack. This formation held its position even after the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. " [1]

During his North African campaign, Patton quickly secured Casablanca, where he negotiated an armistice with the French Resistance. "The Sultan of Morocco was so impressed that he presented Patton with the Order of Ouissam Alaouite, with the citation 'Les Lions dans leurs tani"res tremblent en le voyant approcher' (The lions in their dens tremble at his approach)."

Patton was a tough leader, and expected a lot out of his troops. He pushed them to accomplish their goals, and it led to success. He would even personally talk to troops. However, he would take his determination too far sometimes. There were incidents in which he slapped wounded soldiers who had complained about their pain. "Patton apologized to both soldiers individually, as well as to doctors who witnessed the incidents, and later to all of the soldiers under his command in several speeches." This shows how much of a man he was, outside of being a general. Not many people could own up to and apologize for such actions like this. [1]

http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
STALIN

Pro

"Guderian's defeat at Moscow was a loss for Hitler as any defeat would be a loss to anyone with that high of a political position. However, Hitler was not directly responsible for the defeat, therefore I believe it falls on Guderian's shoulders."

Hitler did not order any winter supplies sent to the front even when he was asked multiple times. Then after the Soviets began to counterattack, Hitler did not allow any retreat. Guderian disobeyed Hitler's order and saved as many of his men as he could and was sacked as a result along with 40 other commanders. Hitler ordered an attack on Moscow in the winter. Therefor he is to blame. Guderian made no mistakes. Hitler did. [2]

"Numerical advantage doesn't determine how good of a leader someone is. It may determine who wins the battle, but the best general could have very few numbers and still win a battle, or vice versa."

At Moscow, the Germans were outnumbered about 2 to 1, like they often were. Patton was NEVER outnumbered as heavily as Guderian. Although the Germans had superior tanks than Patton did, the Germans had fewer. In addition, tanks are often useless without air cover which the Germans often didn't have.

"Germany had Panzers and Tigers, which were superior to the US's Shermans."

Thanks to Guderian.

"As far as combat experience, I'd actually say Patton had more experience. He was a cavalry soldier on border patrol in 1915 (this is where he began carrying a Colt on his hip). Later, he was part of an expedition led against Pancho Villa, during which time he began commanding troops. In WW1, he was assigned command of the U.S. 1st Provisional Tank Brigade and fought in the front lines of multiple battles. He was even wounded in one attack. I would go into further detail about these events, but the topic at hand is more focused on WW2 generals."

However Guderian had more experience as being a commander. He commanded large quantities of forces throughout WWII while Patton began commanding forces only in 1942 by which time the Germans had already been weakened.

"Patton may have had many victories due to numbers, but that doesn't mean they're worth any less."

Good, Con basically admits that many of Patton's victories were due to numbers. Victories due to numbers bring up this question: "what if size of the army Patton had been facing was equal in size?" Of course that is just speculation.

Like Patton, Guderian never really suffered a defeat. Guderian lost at Moscow, however that was not really a defeat for him. It was a defeat for Hitler. <---Con fails to contradict this.

While Patton almost always had a numerical advantage, Guderian was almost always outnumbered. <---Con admits to this.

Guderian developed the Blitzkrieg tactics, many of which were used not only by the Germans, but by the Soviets, British, and Americans. <---Con completely ignores this. Guderian developed tactics that were used by many other generals, even Patton in some cases.

Guderian had much more combat experience than Patton did. Guderian fought in WWI. He helped protect the German borders from the Bolshevik threat. Guderian fought throughout WWII while America only entered WWII in 1941 and began combate in 1942. <---As a commander, Guderian had more experience. However I believe that Con has succeeded in proving that Guderian's and Patton's experiences in combat were equal.

Guderian's victories had more worth since he was constantly outnumbered and was almost always at a disadvantage. <---Con does address this point, however he fails to prove that Patton's victories were worth more. He seems to believe that the fact that German tanks were superior, this made up for the lack of manpower. However the Germans often did not have enough air cover. Anyway, I believe that a battle in which you are outnumbered 2:1 and still win has more worth than a battle in which you have a numerical advantage of 2:1 and win. In addition, the Germans had to deal with a superior number of T-34's which were better than the Panzers.

Anyway, Con completely fails to prove how Patton was a better general than Guderian. He mostly just tried to refute my arguments. Please vote Pro.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
ironmaiden

Con

"At Moscow, the Germans were outnumbered about 2 to 1, like they often were....In addition, tanks are often useless without air cover which the Germans often didn't have."

The Germans being outnumbered is due to Hitler's stupidity in trying to take on the world. Germany just didn't have the manpower or resources to do such a thing. I'll admit, this was a disadvantage for Guderian that might have caused him to lose battles he could have otherwise won. But regardless, he lost battles. Patton didn't. As I said before, a great tactician should be able to utilize a small army well. And, one could argue that being a general (especially a tank commander) and a great tactician means you should make absolutely sure your tanks have air cover. Any defeat caused by the lack of air support for tanks would be partially Guderian's fault.

"'Germany had Panzers and Tigers, which were superior to the US's Shermans.' Thanks to Guderian."

You are right. However, if it weren't for Patton, there would be no tank corps in the US. Not to mention the immense production of Shermans compared to the short supply of Panzers and Tigers.

"However Guderian had more experience as being a commander. He commanded large quantities of forces throughout WWII while Patton began commanding forces only in 1942 by which time the Germans had already been weakened."

With all due respect, you are wrong on this point. While Guderian commanded more men in WW2 than Patton did, Patton was commanding men in the Mexican Revolution. Then he went on to command men in WW1 and WW2.

"Good, Con basically admits that many of Patton's victories were due to numbers. Victories due to numbers bring up this question: "what if size of the army Patton had been facing was equal in size?"

1. I never denied that Patton had greater numbers. 2. If he was outnumbered, who knows? The thing is, Patton was so driven and so blood-thirsty that he probably could have won.

"Like Patton, Guderian never really suffered a defeat. Guderian lost at Moscow, however that was not really a defeat for him. It was a defeat for Hitler. <---Con fails to contradict this."

I believe I did contradict this.

"While Patton almost always had a numerical advantage, Guderian was almost always outnumbered. <---Con admits to this."

Again, I never denied this.

"Guderian developed the Blitzkrieg tactics... <---Con completely ignores this. Guderian developed tactics that were used by many other generals, even Patton in some cases."

I never denied this either.
---
"The German High Command was noted to have more respect for him than for any Allied commander after 1943. Adolf Hitler reportedly called him 'that crazy cowboy general.' Many German field commanders were generous in their praise of Patton's leadership following the war, and many of its highest commanders also held his abilities in high regard. Erwin Rommel credited Patton with executing 'the most astonishing achievement in mobile warfare.' Generaloberst Alfred Jodl, chief of staff of the German Army, stated that Patton 'was the American Guderian. He was very bold and preferred large movements. He took big risks and won big successes.' Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring noted that 'Patton had developed tank warfare into an art, and understood how to handle tanks brilliantly in the field. I feel compelled, therefore, to compare him with Generalfeldmarschall Rommel, who likewise had mastered the art of tank warfare. Both of them had a kind of second sight in regard to this type of warfare.' Referring to the escape of the Afrika Korps after the Battle of El Alamein, Fritz Bayerlein opined that 'I do not think that General Patton would let us get away so easily.' In an interview conducted for Stars and Stripes just after his capture, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt stated simply of Patton, 'He is your best.'" [1]

Patton's Achievements (13):
Distinguished Service Cross (2)
Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Legion of Honor
Order of the White Lion
Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold
Order of Adolphe of Nassau
Order of Koutusoff, 1st Grade

Commandments (12):
304th Tank Brigade
3rd Squadron, 3d Cavalry
5th Cavalry Regiment
3d Cavalry Regiment
2nd Brigade, 2nd Armored Division
2nd Armored Division
I Armored Corps
Desert Training Center
II Corps
7th United States Army
3rd United States Army
15th United States Army

Guderian's Achievements (1):
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub

Commandments (4):
2. Panzer Division
XVI. Armeekorps
XIX. Armeekorps
Panzergruppe Guderian/Panzergruppe 2/2. Panzerarmee

Although Patton always has been and always will be my hero, I can admit that Guderian is one tough a$$-kicker. However, I still believe Patton is a superior general. He is simply a legend, whose legacy will live on longer than most other generals.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by STALIN 3 years ago
STALIN
You can change vote.
Posted by ej3467273 3 years ago
ej3467273
Thing screwed up. I only gave Stalin the convincing arguements, everything else was a tie.
Posted by tylergraham95 3 years ago
tylergraham95
Great debate on both sides. Very enjoyable read. Neither side showed any misconduct toward each other. There were no formatting or s&g mistakes that made it harder to read on either side. Sources were never accused of being inaccurate. Arguments ultimately go to pro for more sufficiently proving that Guderian was a superior general. A Generals ability ought to be based on their contribution to the war effort. Con ceded that Guderian was able to win battles even if he was outnumbered. Con argued that it was the fault of Guderian that he was outnumbered. Pro proved sufficiently that because Hitler was in control of the logistics of the war, that it was not the fault of Guderian that he was outnumbered. The same can be said about operation Barbarossa. Con also ceded that Guderian developed Blitzkrieg, which was a huge aspect of German tactics, which scored majorly with pro. The argument regarding experience ended in a draw, ceded by both sides. Pro made excellent points regarding Guderians contributions regarding Panzer designs, Blitzkrieg tactics, and his ability in combat as a general to win battles when he was constantly outnumbered. Pro also sufficiently proved that Patton typically had a numbers advantage in his fights. Although Con did prove Patton to be a very effective military leader, he did not sufficiently prove that Patton's contribution to the allied war effort was greater than that of Guderian's. Furthermore, Cons point regarding the decorations that Patton recieved are irrelevant. Guderian was not likely to recieve commendation/awards because he was discharged for disobeying orders, albeit bad orders. Also, medals do not make the hero, actions do.

Happy to clarify my RFD.
Posted by thisisbob 3 years ago
thisisbob
Nice debate, really enjoying it.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by ej3467273 3 years ago
ej3467273
STALINironmaidenTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Have to give it to Stalin. Made better arguments, though both sides had great conduct, good spelling and grammar, and both used reliable sources.
Vote Placed by tylergraham95 3 years ago
tylergraham95
STALINironmaidenTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by yay842 3 years ago
yay842
STALINironmaidenTied
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Total points awarded:33 
Reasons for voting decision: because reading is too mainstream...